Quantitative detection of aromatic compounds in single aerosol particle mass spectrometry
. Analytical Chemistry 2001
Most laser-based aerosol mass spectrometers rely on a single ultraviolet laser to both ablate and ionize the aerosol particle. This technique produces complex and fragmented mass spectra, especially for organic compounds. The approach presented here achieves a more robust and quantitative analysis using a CO2 laser to evaporate the aerosol particle and a vacuum ultraviolet laser to ionize the vapor plume. Vacuum ultraviolet laser ionization produces little fragmentation in the mass spectra, making the identification of an aerosol particle's constituents more straightforward. An analysis of simple, three-component mixtures of aniline, benzyl alcohol, and m-nitrotoluene shows that the technique also provides a quantitative analysis for all the components of the mixture. Furthermore, the detection of predominantly parent ion signal from anthracene particles demonstrates the utility of the technique in the analysis of lower vapor pressure, solid-phase aerosols. Finally, we discuss the potential and limitations of this technique in analyzing organic atmospheric aerosols.